Red Tuesday: Idea for Boosting * Your * 4th Quarter Book Sales

Fourth Quarter Pic

This idea came to me this morning. It has the potential to help you sell many books in the fourth quarter. It’s a simple idea; it’s free; and it will be easy. It just involves a little marketing, but, as you know, marketing is exactly the kind of work that can move books.

I’m not talking about marketing for a few sales. I see potential for a great deal of exposure.

THE PROBLEM: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge days for holiday shopping among retailers. However, booksellers probably won’t reduce the price of your book any more than usual, they probably won’t advertise your book as part of the sale, and you might even sell fewer books than normal because all of the customers are too busy buying electronics, toys, tools, and clothing.

You can discount your book significantly on these days and promote your sale to help stimulate some traffic during this time, but it probably won’t be any more effective than promoting your book this way on any other day of the year. In fact, it may be better to do this on some other day where you’re readers aren’t too busy shopping for other items.

THE IDEA: Thousands of authors participate in special one-day pricing of incredible discounts. We’ll call it Red Tuesday (a homophone with the past tense of what you do with a book). Actually, we’ll do it again just after Christmas, when everyone just got a new e-reader and still has holiday money to spend. We’ll call this one White Thursday (a play on “write,” perhaps).

It’s simple, really: Each author promotes his or her own discount while simultaneously promoting the huge event. You don’t do any more work than normal, but by being part of a huge group of authors involved in this, you can gain the enhanced publicity of the event as a whole.

For example, you would write, “Title of My Book will be 80% off as part of the Super Incredible Red Tuesday Extravaganza.” Take a moment to briefly describe what Red Tuesday is all about in addition to promoting your book. Link to the event page as well as to your book. Think of all the content you could post on your blog and social media regarding Red Tuesday, where you will also mention your own book’s participation in the event. Red Tuesday helps you with your marketing.

One author is really tiny. Together as a community, we can thrive.

All we need to do is spread the word and get super-mega-incredible participation among authors.

If we can get significant participation, it will open up many marketing opportunities that may otherwise elude us. Imagine the growth and buzz building up so large that the media takes notice. I have a list of other ideas below, and more will come. Together, we can help Red Tuesday go viral.

ELIGIBILITY: You just need to be an author who is willing to significantly discount your book on Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. All authors are welcome, regardless of how you published, what you write, etc. (You don’t have to worry about your book being listed in an electronic catalog with an adult content book because we could always make separate catalogs for different kinds of books. At this point, there is no guarantee that there will be a catalog; that’s just one of the ideas below.)

If your book is already 99 cents, pretty much the only way to discount it is to make it free. However, many authors might want to just drop their prices, but not make them free. Why not allow for both? Any catalogs could easily come in separate editions for discounted titles and freebies. We could also feature the deepest discounts at the top to help catch interest in the program.

I have several e-books priced between $2.99 to $5.99. I’m thinking to drop all of the prices to 99 cents (except where the file size is so large that it prevents the e-book from being priced this low).

I also sell several paperbacks. These could be reduced, too. Or I could make a significant percent-off discount code for my CreateSpace eStore. Or I could sell them from my website at 50% off and take payments through PayPal.

The important thing is to make the book on sale during the promotion for a significant discount.

EXPRESS YOUR INTEREST: If you’re interested in this, please post a comment below to let us know. If there doesn’t appear to be interest, this idea will just slowly die out. The idea can only succeed through your participation. Please share the idea to help spread the news, so that we can find more authors who are willing to participate.

If there is plenty of initial interest, then we’ll move onto the next step and Red Tuesday may become a reality and a success.

We’re still in the planning stages. So if you have ideas, suggestions, comments, or concerns, this is a good time to express them. Nothing is set in stone yet.

There is no cost. You’re only commitment is to significantly lower your price for Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. Any other work will strictly be voluntary. It would be wise for you to promote your discount and the event in order to help you get the most out of it.

MORE INFORMATION: As long as there continues to be significant interest, I’ll post information about Red Tuesday here on my blog. Please feel free to help spread the news – directly, by reblogging, or by creating your own posts about Red Tuesday.

If there is significant interest, I’ll send out a sign-up post on my blog, whereby authors can sign up. If you have a better idea for how to get authors to sign up besides just using the comments section of a sign-up post, please share your idea.

If several authors sign up, I will put up regular posts with information, ideas, suggestions, etc. here on my blog. Again, feel free to help spread this information.

DATES: In 2013, Black Friday is November 29 and Cyber Monday is December 2. Everyone is now exhausted from shopping. So my thought is to wait until Tuesday, December 10 to celebrate Red Tuesday. Then we’ll have White Thursday on January 3. (I liked White Wednesday better, but it falls on January 2, just a day after New Year’s.)

IDEAS: First we need to brand the concept of Red Tuesday. We’ll want to have a small number of images that we can all use with our blog posts and other Red Tuesday promotions. I can announce a contest to submit images for consideration. Then we’ll use the winning image to brand our image. Everyone should use this image with all of their Red Tuesday promotional materials.

We’ll also want to brand White Thursday (which will come about a month later). But we want White Thursday to be a surprise. We don’t want readers skipping Red Tuesday, knowing that White Thursday will come later. We want to generate huge exposure twice, not once. We’ll need a different image for White Thursday.

Some kind of catchy slogan, jingle, strapline, or something of this sort would be nice, too. I can solicit suggestions in a separate post.

Soon we’ll need to build a great deal of buzz and generate plenty of author participation. We can post and reblog about Red Tuesday to spread the word. Assuming this takes off, I’ll make a post in a couple of days with more ideas of how to help create buzz for this special day.

If we succeed in creating ample buzz for Red Tuesday, this may create additional marketing opportunities. Write an article about it and try to publish it in a relevant high-traffic zone. (Your article won’t go to waste because you can always post it to your bog if it doesn’t get used anywhere else.) We can try to get writers with a large following to write about Red Tuesday, and we can aim for a little media attention.

We can make a webpage specifically for the Red Tuesday event and everyone can link to it in all of their posts. If we’re able to make any electronic catalogs of books (volunteers can make this possible), we’ll post them on the event page and circulate them in others, too.

If many authors do a few small things in the way of promoting Red Tuesday, it will really add up. We all have different areas of expertise. If you’re a video whiz, for example, you can post a trailer on YouTube about Red Tuesday, and the rest of us can help get people to check it out. Remember, any marketing that you do voluntarily to promote Red Tuesday will also help you with your own book as a part of your promotion.

As we approach Red Tuesday, our marketing campaign should go nuts. Everyone should be posting and promoting in anticipation, and especially on Red Tuesday itself.

It’s very important to reduce your price in time, allowing for probable delays (which can be several hours or more – and may be longer if there is widespread participation) to get your book’s price reduced in time for the big event. Better early than late.

GREAT FOR READERS: Red Tuesday doesn’t just have the potential to benefit authors. It can greatly benefit readers, too. Red Tuesday would be a great day to stock up on books by all your favorite participating authors. It’s also a great day to buy books as gifts. There is ample reason for authors and readers alike to spread the word and make Red Tuesday a huge hit.

Sure, some readers will see Red Tuesday coming and try to hold off of buying books until Red Tuesday comes around. There will still be readers buying books before then. If your sales rank does slide somewhat going into Red Tuesday, just think what a potential avalanche of sales on Red Tuesday could do for it. The better you promote your discount and Red Tuesday and the more marketable your book, the better your chances of having a successful Red Tuesday.

NO GUARANTEES: There is no guarantee that this will improve your exposure or increase your sales. However, if participation is widespread, there is much potential for numerous authors to receive a marked boost in both exposure and sales. The more marketable your book (i.e. good content, appealing cover, effective blurb, well-formatted and -edited, attractive storyline and characterization, and good readability), the better the prospects for you to benefit from the promotion. Also, the more active participation we receive and the more effective we are, collectively, at marketing the event, the better the chances of success.

FINAL WORD: Ideas, comments, suggestions, and concerns are not only welcome, they are strongly encouraged. 🙂

We can be part of something much bigger than ourselves. The magic word is participation.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

43 comments on “Red Tuesday: Idea for Boosting * Your * 4th Quarter Book Sales

  1. I like it. One thing that we could capitalize on is the idea of giving e-books as gifts. I don’t think that most people who don’t themselves use an e-reader realize how simple it is. So for people who know an avid reader, here’s a chance to give a discounted e-book directly to the recipient’s Kindle, no fighting mall traffic, no wrapping, no paying for postage.

    • Thank you for expressing interest. I’ve gifted some e-books and it turned out to be a great experience. It’s so easy and convenient. You’re right, targeting gift-giving is a great idea for the holiday season. 🙂

  2. I usually get an iTunes gift card from one or more of my kids at Christmas, and I have been know to give Amazon cards as gifts. I would love to knock the price down on my book for a promo, but I don’t have Kindle Select. When I reduce the price of my book, Amazon makes it hell to get the price increased again. I have been told if you ever make it “free” they will never allow you to put the price back up. Right now I have it at $3.99 (It is 426 pgs in print. thinking of going $2.99 or lower once paperback is ready.) I know the paperback is going to be much higher, and I am considering Matchbook. It sounds like a great plan, if Amazon will work with me. I haven’t thought of gifting my own book. (neat idea)

  3. I think it’s a wonderful idea, and I’ll gladly spread it within my sphere of influence. Authors could make lead-up posts on the Tuesdays/Thursdays in the those months, too, as a countdown to Red and White Tuesday. As for discounting hard copies of books, it would be a great way to build a relationship with readers by selling it directly to them via Facebook or personal website, etc. Another angle could be possibly tying those days specifically to support of indie/self-pubbed authors so the idea doesn’t get usurped by the Big Five. Great work, as usual, Chris.

    • Thank you for expressing your interest. 🙂 I gave a little thought to the Big Five. They are reluctant to discount e-books much – period. I really don’t see this interesting them. Stores give big discounts on select items to draw customers in, knowing they will sell many other items on Black Friday. I don’t see the Big Five getting too interested, since they’re supplying the inventory for the big retailers, but aren’t selling merchandise in stores themselves. Maybe some small publishers would see the benefits of joining, and I think they would be quite welcome. But even if the Big Five did like the idea, I would think any promotion on their part would help out everyone else, too.

      However, angling this toward indie authors (and perhaps indie publishers) might still be a good idea. These are the authors most likely to have the flexibility to give a short-term discount of their own anyway, so they are most likely to participate. And this spin might help target an audience most likely to lend us support. 🙂

  4. I’m in – and, though I’m not a graphic artist, nor advertising whiz, this idea popped into my head and it’s my offering of ideas for promotion:
    If the idea is worth pursuing, could someone who knows what they are doing in Photoshop make it look pretty? LOL 😀

    • That’s a neat idea. It clearly suggests the idea of the book being gifted, fits the color red, matches the holiday theme, and I really like the way it plays on the color and verb. Maybe we just need to find a fancy bow. It would also be easy to resize this for a blog or social media header or any other dimensions needed. 🙂

      • I’m happy to email the Photoshop CS3 file to anyone who is more graphically gifted if the idea appeals to those who will be participating – 🙂
        And thank you for seeing my idea and not the poor implementation of it! LOL

  5. Another reason to finish the darn book – and its sequels! I won’t be able to join you this year, but your idea is wonderful – and I hope it gets going this year, and continues so I can join you when I’m allowed to publish.

    Waves hi – fellow physicist and writer.

    • This has the potential to be bigger and better next year, provided that we get off to a good start this year. Many people may look forward to the second one, we’ll have a foundation to draw from, and there will be more preparation time. We’d be happy to have you join then. 🙂

      It has been a pleasant surprise to meet a few other physicists who write here at WordPress. WordPress seems to make the world smaller.

  6. I love this promotional idea. I’m in. My sequel may not be out in time but ‘Crossing The Line is’! I would like to re-blog this on my blog also. Just have to figure out how to do this first Any help with this will be appreciated.

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  10. I just heard about this today and would definitely be interested. I have a line of Regency romances and a line of mysteries, normally 2.99. Would discount them to 1.99 for both events. That would be a total of eleven books. Will put your URL up on Facebook for all my writer friends.

  11. Love it. I’m in. I love the concept, the graphic, the hashtag, all of it. Could you put together an email list, like a newsletter, and keep us posted that way?

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  13. Chris, you inspire me, as always. This — THIS — is the thing that will finally get me to get my mailing list in order (yikes!) Now I have something to really talk about. Yes, I’m in. Yes, will promote it. Also, posting a link to this page to my ePubs group. Can’t wait to watch it all come together!

    • You definitely may. Thank you. 🙂 I’ll post more on my blog about exactly how you can participate once the images are prepared and the website is up and running (hopefully, just a couple of days).

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